Goose Lane Editions has released a biography that reveals the private world of one of Canada's most fascinating politicians. Years after stepping down as Premier of New Brunswick, Frank McKenna is still on the minds of political watchers across Canada. The question today, however, is will he or won't he get back into the political ring. While the guessing game continues, Philip Lee's new book Frank: The Life and Politics of Frank McKenna provides fresh insights into the man and his politics.
Frank takes readers on a journey into the political backrooms and corporate boardrooms that make up McKenna's world, and offers a compelling glimpse of the private life and hidden agendas of a consummate insider. It also examines McKenna's unique brand of entrepreneurial politics and his staunch determination to transform New Brunswick into a vibrant, self-reliant partner in Canada. Lee uncovers the private man behind the public dealmaker, revealing an ambitious, calculating, passionate and highly intelligent individual. By providing an intimate look at McKenna's childhood on a subsistence farm, his marriage and family life, and his early fame as the lawyer who successfully defended boxing legend Yvon Durelle against a murder charge, Lee lays out the foundation that enabled McKenna to become one of the most successful and scrutinized politicians in Canadian history. Lee casts new light on McKenna's leadership during the Liberals' historic clean-sweep election victory in 1987, and the ten-year whirlwind of innovative social and economic policy that followed. McKenna's driven, no-holds-barred approach to governing frequently attracted controversy in his home province, and his forays onto the national stage made him one of the most fascinating politicians in the country. Whether he was voicing strong opposition to the Meech Lake Accord or convincing large companies to create jobs in New Brunswick at the expense of more prosperous provinces, McKenna always attracted the rabid interest of friend and foe alike.
A journalist, lecturer, and bestselling writer, Philip Lee began his career as an investigative reporter on Canada’s east coast. Restigouche emerged from his long-standing interest in rivers and the people who love them. His first book, Home Pool: The Fight to Save the Atlantic Salmon, grew out of his award-winning reporting on the decline of the Atlantic salmon. Lee is also the author of Frank: The Life and Politics of Frank McKenna, a national bestseller, and Bittersweet: Confessions of a Twice-Married Man, which was long-listed for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
A professor at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, Lee developed the Dalton Camp lecture series, broadcast annually by CBC Radio’s Ideas and edited The Next Big Thing (a published collection from the lectures). When he is not writing and teaching, Lee spends as much time as he can following the currents of rivers.
"Beautifully written and deeply moving, Frank not only offers an insider's view of bare-knuckle Maritime politics and the price McKenna and his family have paid for his success, but also explores the intellectual and emotional progress of a passionate politician. "
— Stevie Cameron
"Captures McKenna's potential to be more than a small-town Horatio Alger boy who makes good, with tantalizing hints of other careers to come. It's a damn good read, with fascinating insider detail on political organization and major national events. "
— Hugh Winsor
"A biography for everyone interested in the future of Canadian politics. Philip Lee gives us a psychic road map of a man who could be Canada's next prime minister, from his dirt poor beginnings through his career as lawyer, politician, premier, and rainmaker. Absolutely first rate. "
— Michael Harris
"A marvellously readable book about a nearly perfect politician in the nouveau world of entrepreneurial politics. "
— Dalton Camp
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